On a Sunday afternoon, the bustling corridors and foot-traffic on the concrete floor of Liberty Station’s Public Market are reminiscent of the location’s historical origins. From 1923 to 1997, Liberty Station served San Diego as a Naval Training Center. Nowadays, Liberty Station has taken on a new life, serving as an outlet and reflection of Point Loma’s artists, entrepreneurs and historians.
The Public Market is not your average food court. It’s a lazy foodie’s dream because the options are condensed into an intersection of fine cuisine. People of all ages shuffle through the 22,000-square-foot building as they scope out potential lunch destinations. While there are a total of 32 dining options ranging from soul food to seafood, here are five shops that illustrate the large range of choices in Liberty Public Market.
Mama Made: The que for Mama Made extended to the flower shop next door and was the longest line I encountered. Presumably, people were waiting to get a taste of their crispy Thai spring rolls, signature pan-fried noodles or Kai Tod (fried chicken). These dishes combine the heart of home cooking with the zest of Bangkok’s street food.
Liberty Meat Shop: The Battaglia family has been serving quality meat to San Diego since 1950. Their Italian deli serves made-to-order sandwiches piled high with cold cuts as well as BBQ brisket and all beef meatball subs. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the Elvis—a peanut butter, banana, bacon and honey sandwich served on multi-grain bread.
Scooped by Mootime: This small version of Mootime Creamery serves up the same fresh ice cream made in Coronado, with a few new treats. “Moo-tacos” combine crowd favorites, with ice cream nestled inside a fresh waffle cone shell and drizzled with chocolate and sprinkles. Among the assortment of two sorbets and six ice cream flavors in the glass case, I opted for a scoop of creamy peanut butter.
Cane Patch Kitchen: You don’t have to be from New Orleans to enjoy the soul food Cane Patch is cooking up in California. The recipes date back to the early 1900s but, with best-selling dishes like Jambalaya Mac, they add a forward spin to a classic dish. Split an order of beignets with a friend and finish the meal with these powdery pillows of pastry.
Wicked Maine Lobster: Lobster season is here and what better place to get your seafood fix. Whether you order a lobster roll, lobster macaroni and cheese or fried shrimp, you can guarantee the fish is fresh. While these dishes are pricier than your average burger from In-N-Out, it’s the kind of rich comfort food you treat yourself to after a long week of school (or when your parents come to visit).
Liberty Public Market is located at 2820 Historic Decatur Road San Diego, CA 92106 and is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.